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Over the past few weeks BirdWatch Ireland HQ has been receiving lots of phone calls and emails about strange birds with bright orange heads that have been visiting gardens around Ireland.  They tend to flock with Starlings and House Sparrows and can be quite numerous in some areas, though they can’t be found in any field guides.  This is something that BirdWatch Ireland have become used to at this time of year, but for some reason this summer the number of reports has been absolutely unprecedented.

Rather than being some exotic new visitor, these in fact ARE Starlings and House Sparrows that have been feeding on a plant called New Zealand Flax (Phormium tenax).  Though native to New Zealand, where it is often known by its Maori name of Harakeke, this species has been planted commonly in gardens around the country and has even become naturalised in the wild in many areas.  We are used to plants being pollinated by insects and even by the wind, but New Zealand Flax uses another method: it is pollinated by birds. 

For more information, follow this link: 

BirdwatchIreland

Starling BrFi03 stained by New Zealand Flax Brendan Fitzpatrick WEB

 

 

A new four-winged dinosaur has been discovered, with exceptionally long feathers on its tail and "hindwings".

Changyuraptor yangi was a gliding predator which lived in the Cretaceous period in what is now Liaoning, China.

Its remarkable tail feathers - measuring up to 30cm - are the longest in any non-avian dinosaur.

 

For more information, click on the following link:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-28295571

Rooks have been observed acting as 'tool-makers' and cooperatively between individual birds. The BTO is intererested in receiving any observations of any such behaviour.

More details can be found here:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-28105964BBC Rooks

Crane web

 

A recently-hatched crane chick has given conservationists fresh hope about seeing a new generation of wild cranes in the west of Britain.

The crane chick was spotted on Sunday at WWT Slimbridge in Gloucestershire, where its parents were hand-reared.

Conservationist Nigel Jarrett said it was "incredibly exciting", especially after the same breeding pair lost a chick last year due to the weather.

For more info, please follow this link http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-gloucestershire-27466509

 


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Wiltshire Ornithological Society was formed on November 30th, 1974, and has grown in recent years to more than 500 members.

Our mission is to encourage and pursue the study, recording and conservation of birds in Wiltshire

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